Monday, April 27, 2009

Food & Fun

Its been a while since I posted about what I've been up to in the kitchen. Saturday I had a concert with the Pleasanton Community Concert Band at the local farmers market. Between sets I wandered around and picked up a big handful of fava beans:

Known in the UK as broadbeans, these puppies are huge! Each bean is as long as or longer than my hand.

Aren't they cute? Kind of like little caterpillars.

Fave beans are more labor intensive than other types of beans, but their buttery, slightly nutty, just a tad bitter taste is worth the effort. Plus the repetitive work of shucking them is relaxing.
The first shucking reveals the woody, cottony inside of the pod within which each bean in nestled.
The beans need to be blanched in very salty boiling water for about a minute, then put in ice water to stop the cooking (no mushy beans). When they are cool enough to handle you peel off the outer shells, leaving you with tender, bright green beans to eat alone or in another dish.

I recently came across this recipe for Red Beet Risotto over at Not Without Salt and have been thinking about it since. I just can't get over the color, so I also picked up these two homely beets and set forth. The recipe was actually quite easy to boot.

When slicing beets keep in mind the the color can stain. My cutting board looked like a massacre had taken place on it, and my hands were red. I washed up right away and had no problems.

I topped the finished risotto with a yogurt-dill sauce I had prepared a day or two prior, quickly sauteed the fava beans with butter and plenty of garlic, and baked a chicken breast with a lemon herb crust for Chris. This was a fresh and very delicious meal.

* * * * *

After all of the work over the weekend we were able to really enjoy our patio last Wednesday, my birthday. We grilled veggie/hot dogs, had baked beans and macaroni salad - its a bit of a tradition for my birthday. It was gorgeous weather and very enjoyable. A few weeks prior I had picked up a dog/kiddie pool at the pet store since the dogs like water and I figured it would be a good way to cool Mac down in the warm weather. We filled it up and Mac had a blast playing in it, trying to get the giant tennis ball out (too big for his mouth), splashing around and making us laugh. Even Ayla put her front feet in the pool and daintily plucked the toys out.

Its gearing up to be a nice summer!


Liz and Kurt said...

Your food photography skills are quite impressive. Just thought you should know :)

Misty said...

I read an obscene number of food blogs and have been trying to learn more about photography, so thanks!